encompasses two continents, extending from the American Southwest and the tropical islands of the Caribbean to the southern tip of South America. Its rich and diverse cultures have their roots in Native American, European, and African civilizations. Latin America today reflects both the past, one that is often marked by political upheaval and economic dependency, and the future, one that is represented by its multicultural peoples and a search for relevant social, economic, and political models.
While Latin America
has suffered from dictatorships and foreign exploitation, it has also struggled for political and economic freedom. Latin American democracies rule the political landscape in the present time. It is home to exciting and innovative trends and ideas in literature, arts, music, and philosophy.
Villanova’s Catholic Augustinian heritage and mission has had a special relationship with the peoples of Latin America. The Augustinians were among the first religious leaders to arrive in the New World. In the twentieth century, the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova established the Universidad de Villanueva in Havana, Cuba, and continues to participate in an active mission at Chulucanas in Peru.
The Villanova Latin American Studies Program, established in 1988, offers students in all of the university's four undergraduate colleges the opportunity to acquire a broad multi-disciplinary understanding and appreciation of Latin America. Students may pursue either a minor or the more comprehensive concentration . Both are designed to complement a variety of majors; many concentration and minor courses can also be used to satisfy core curriculum requirements.
Since language is essential to understanding any culture, a degree of language proficiency is an integral part of both the concentration and the minor. And, since living in Latin America offers invaluable experience in language, culture, and contemporary life and issues, students in the program are strongly encouraged to spend a summer or semester there.
In addition to its attractive course offerings, the Program sponsors overseas programs in Costa Rica , Chile , a Sustainable Development program, and a variety of scholarly and cultural events for the Villanova community.